Letter: NHS rationing

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The Independent Culture
Sir: As a dentist with a nearly 100 per cent NHS practice, I read John Hunt's comments on NHS underfunding (letter, 22 December) with much interest.

Down the years, more and more has been demanded of us, whether as employers or clinicians, and the resources have not been available from the NHS to meet those demands. The process cannot go on; I cannot allow my income to go on falling as it is at present.

However, at least I graduated from dental school free of debt. Today's new dental graduate has, on average, pounds 9,500 of debt, nearly pounds 2,000 more than the average new medical graduate.

At this point in their careers, they have a clear choice. They can either leave the NHS and have a financial structure to enable them to meet properly increasing demands and aspirations (from public, patients, and staff) or they can take their chance with the NHS. Under present circumstances, the wise choice is only too obvious. If the Government wishes NHS dentistry to survive, never mind prosper, it has some hard thinking to do.

EDWARD B STRACHAN

Cheadle, Cheshire

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